The third and final prelude chapter to Horcrux. Again, this is Harry Potter fanfiction and I don’t always want to admit to having written such… That said: This is BY FAR one of my favorite bits of short/flash fiction. I love how this turned out and though I can see more flaws with it now (half a decade after writing it) I still love the pathos of the piece. It’s one of the shortest of the bits, but its still a favorite.
This is the last of the preludes and I’m probably going to take a break from Horcrux for a while… Just for variety’s sake. There were 5 chapters completed before I abandoned the project. I’ll post those chapters eventually, but I doubt it’ll be in the near future. If you really love the story and want more now (beyond seeking medical help) I can direct you to Fanfiction.net. It’s all on there and I used my constant username, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find if you’re determined…
It was a cool and quiet morning. A slight breeze blew across the emerald hills, quietly heralding the coming dawn. Where the rising sun promised brilliant warmth to chase away the somber chill of autumn, the breeze seemed to warn that it would return once the sun grew too weak to continue. The breeze wound through the small hills and valleys, seeking a place to hide.
Nestled amongst those hills, a small column of smoke rising from its chimney, sat a small cottage. It looked slightly slouched and depressed, like it had long ago collapsed in a valley to rest and had not yet roused the strength to stand again. The breeze flew towards this exhausted hovel, hoping to bring a final chill to those who hid within.
A young man stood alone in the kitchen of the cottage, staring quietly out the window. He knew what this day would bring, deep in his bones he felt it. He stood resolute, defying the cold breeze that blew through sand-colored hair andbrought dread through the open window. His thoughts raged across his face, betraying an internal chaos that he fought to keep hidden beneath a stoic expression. The slightest twitch of an eye as he heard someone moving behind him, somewhere in the belly of the cottage. Almost a flinch, as if he feared whatever moved within, quickly forced from his face. He took a deep breath to compose himself and turned to face the kitchen doorway.
With a tumble and a crash, a young woman stumbled into the room. A quiet grin plastered across her face as she saw the man before her. She was wrapped in a heavy brown cloak and had a small bag thrown over her shoulder, clearly ready for a journey. She lightly pushed a stray lock of blonde hair out of her eyes and she let the bag drop to her feet with a dull thud. With a broad grin, she walked over to the man, who’s expression still belied the roiling torment beneath the surface and her smile slowly turned somber.
The woman grabbed the man in a tight embrace and refused to let go, despite his half-hearted attempts to escape. There they stood, until he finally broke and dropped his head onto her low shoulder. He began to shake slightly, barely holding back terrible sobs. She patted his back lightly, comforting and affectionate, her contact akin to rubbing a salve on a terrible ache.
“I promise you, nothing will happen.” She pulled back from the embrace just enough to look Thomas in the eye, and she smiled sadly, wiping the single tear that had broken through his facade.
“I know. I know you really mean that, but I can’t shake this terrible feeling.” He looked again out the window, refusing to meet her gaze. “I just feel something on the wind.”
“Because there is something out there. Something terrible. Someone terrible…” She trailed off with a depressed sigh, also looking out that same window.
“I know. Hell, Meg, everyone knows. That’s why we’re out here!” Growing ever more forceful, Thomas broke the embrace and stepped away. “We came here to hide from him! There’s no reason we need to get involved! This is foolish!” He whipped around staring angrily at the woman, accusing her with his blazing eyes.
Silence hung heavily in the room, broken only by the quiet clink of pots being blown about in the early morning air.
“We cannot live in fear anymore, Thomas,” Meg finally said quietly, barely above a whisper. “I’m sorry, but I cannot hide in the hills any longer, not while that monster tears across the countryside. Not while all those innocents are dying. Not when a monster strives to ruin everything! Damn you, Thomas! Damn you! We’ve been over this. I don’t care what your dreams tell you! I am more than capable of defending myself and you and I both know that I can no longer sit on the sidelines!” She paused and took a deep breath and continued quietly. “I’m sorry, but I am going, with or without your permission.”
Taking a deep breath, Thomas’s rage dissipated. It’s hot accusations fading into chilled morning air. Finally, with a breaking voice and a somber expression, he hung his head.
“Just promise me you’ll come back. I can’t bear the thought of that monster taking you away.”
She once again wrapped him in a tight embrace, before stepping back quickly and grabbing up her bag from where it had fallen onto the floor. With a grin she checked her belt to be sure she had everything she needed and leaned forward and grabbed Thomas by his collar, kissing him passionately.
“I’ll be home in a few weeks, with a dead tyrant on the ground behind me.” She grinned broadly. “And I expect to find you waiting for me.”
“I love you.” Thomas said with a twinge of sadness.
“I love you too, sweetie.”
With a final hug, Meg stepped through the kitchen doorway and into the cool morning. Thomas watched her walk down the path towards the nearest village. She turned back and waved confidently to him and he meekly waved back. As she crested the hill and sunk down behind it, Thomas began to weep openly. He knew, deep in his heart, that it would be the last time he would see his beloved wife. His dreams did not lie. Only he lied, when he said he believed her. He hoped against hope, but did not believe. He would only see her again long from now, when death came to claim him. He fell to the floor and wept as the cold rays of the sun slowly began to leak through the open window.